Miami Marlins Season Review: Marcos Rivera

MIAMI, FL - JULY 03: Fans watch the game between the Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixteenth inning Marlins Park on July 3, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 03: Fans watch the game between the Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixteenth inning Marlins Park on July 3, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 108 of 286. For the first 100, click here.

Marcos Antonio Rivera is a 6’1″, 160 lb. right-handed shortstop from Bani, Dominican Republic. Born on May 13th, 1997, he just completed his fourth minor league season with the Miami Marlins.

For a small country, the Dominican Republic has produced a disproportionate amount of major leaguers. Bani is responsible for 26 of them so far, including current big-leaguers Luis Castillo, Pedro Baez, and Jose Ramirez. It’s too early to tell if Rivera will add to that total, but we’ll try to do that right here.

Now 21-years-old, Rivera joined the rookie-level DSL Marlins in the Dominican Summer League for a team-best 64 contests in 2015. He ranked second on the team with 10 stolen bases, and slashed .224/.319/.324, with 24 RBI. Rivera’s 31 walks factored heavily in his slightly-above average OBP, especially regarding his 54-for-241 performance at the plate. Defensively, he played 20 games at third base and 43 at shortstop. He turned in a .916 fielding percentage at short, proving that he still has a long way to progress before being a viable long-term commodity.

Three-quarters of players in the DSL never even make it as far as the domestic-rookie-level team, but Rivera made the jump to the Gulf Coast League’s GCL Marlins in 2016. He went 25-for-123 in 43 contests, drawing 19 walks to boost his .203 batting average to a .315 OBP. In 343 1/3 innings in the field, he turned 19 double plays and boosted his fielding percentage to .958.

2017 would see Rivera join the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs, and appear in a team-second 63 games for the eventual 30-45 ballclub. He also ranked second on the team with 22 RBI, going 48-for-213 at the plate. His .225/.295/.362 slashline, while modest, was the best of his career to that point thanks for 21 extra base hits. He was nearly the same as in 2016 in the field, putting up a .951 fielding percentage in 510 2/3 innings at shortstop.

This Season

In 2018, Rivera was promoted to the full-season-A Greensboro Grasshoppers, where he remained through the entire campaign. Always the workhorse, Rivera led the 60-76 club with 110 games played, and developed a yet-unseen power stroke, ranking second on the team with 12 home runs. He slashed .232/.277/.365 with 43 RBI.

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Rivera’s surge of power came with a price, as the shortstop only drew 25 walks in a career-high 426 plate appearances. He also regressed in the field, with a .938 fielding percentage at shortstop over 297 1/3 innings. The Grasshoppers actually used him more at the hot corner, to poor results. Rivera earned an .881 fielding percentage in 546 2/3 innings at third base.

Rivera finished the season with 22 multi-hit games to his credit, including eight three-hit affairs. On June 1st, Rivera went deep twice for two solo shots and also collected a single in a 10-3 victory over the West Virginia Power.

Never a ranked prospect, Rivera is still rostered at the full-season-A level, only now with the Miami Marlins new Midwest League affiliate, the Clinton LumberKings. Of course, the worst case scenario is Rivera failing to get through the 2019 campaign while still a part of the organization. Best case for him is that he makes progress in the field and relearns patience at the plate, resulting in a promotion to the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads. Rivera’s best-case scenario would put him in Miami Marlins Spring Training in 2022.

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